Showing posts from January, 2012

What's Cooking

These past two days I've done my best to make up for my last six months away from American food .  It all started with a brownie at the airport.    Then there was the Sourdough Jack, the Honey Bacon Club from Quizno's, the clam chowder, and Chipotle (sounds healthy, doesn't it!).  For snacks, baby carrots, parmesan goldfish, and string cheese.  For dinner tonight I had a steak wrapped in bacon, a side salad with blue cheese dressing and cheddar cheese, bread, and veggies.  You're probably thinking what's the big deal, but I have missed these things dearly.  To top it off, my bill for dinner was only $20.  I don't think Americans realize how cheap the food is - in Oz you would never get free bread, or sides included with your meal - that same food would have been $60 easy.  Of course, I've probably eaten more hormones in the last 2 days than I have living in Oz combines.  I guess everything has its price.

Land of the (not quite so) Free

Wow, I never thought I'd have such culture shock coming back to the country I've called home for 29 years.  Today was the never-ending Friday, where I started the morning in Melbourne, landed in LA before I took off, and then flew to Dallas. 

It was a bit strange travelling to a foreign country and not needing a passport.  When I landed in LA, it had been over 6 months since I had been in the US.  My first dilema was how to fill out the customs form - for place of residence, did they mean legal residence or tax residence?  Because depending on which, my answer is different.  It didn't really matter what my answer to that question was, because it was my answer to the "do you have meat" question that caused the drama.  I brought some kangaroo treats for my parents' dog, and customs did not know what to do with this.  At first they told me they'd have to take them away, and then they decided it was ok.  I hope Sheba likes them for all the drama she caused!

The Tennis

I have to confess, I couldn't have cared less about tennis a month ago.  But last week I got to stand four feet away from Serena Williams at a hotel event, and today I got to watch Raffa Nadal win a match in the Australia Open.  I think I'm hooked.

One of the benefits of having a job that supports Sales is I occassionally *have* to take customers to certain events.  This is definitely the toughest part of my job.  Footie games, the Melbourne Cup horse race, the Australia Open, they make for miserable days of work.  So today was the 2nd round match of the Australia Open, one of Phil's long-time dreams (well, the Open part, not necesarily the 2nd round part-).  We had seats four rows up in Rod Laver Arena, and fortunately the intense heat of the last couple days let up a little today.  The first match featured a young Aussie Olivia Rogowski and a woman from China Na Li.  Li one fairly easily, but Phil sure enjoyed watching the Aussie play.

The second match was a quick one - B…

My Ironman

It's been a year now since Phil completed his first half ironman triathlon in Wanaka, New Zealand.  It was such an amazing feeling when he finally crossed the finish line that day - the winds were incredibly brutal and made what was an already difficult feat even tougher.  Since then he's finished many more races, and in March he will compete in the most trying triathlon possible, the Ironman. 

It has been fun to watch his journey, from duathlon, to his first triathlon, to making a trip across the world to complete the half ironman.  I remember standing with him at that first duathlon watching other competitors start the swim portion of their race.  It was so inspiring, and I think he caught the bug that day.  Heck, it was so cool to watch that I even contemplated taking the sport up.  For about 10 seconds.  And then I realized that I can't float, hate swimming, and didn't have a bike.  For his first race we drove to San Luis Obispo and the swim was in a pool.  This me…

Suzannah Does Dallas

Next Friday I'll land in Dallas, bleary-eyed and ripe from the long flight but excited none the less.  My two-week trip will be full of work and training, but with any luck it will also be full of good shopping and Mexican food.  My strategy is this: since I received Qantas Silver status I get 3 23-kg bags.  I sent Anita back with one, and I will pack a large duffle bag into my suitcase.  I will take very few clothes with me and use my first weekend there to stock up on some new work clothes and shoes.  No toiletries either - I will make a stop at Target that first day to get everything I need for half the price I would pay here.  I will fill that suitcase and duffle bag during the two weekends in Dallas, and then spend the day I have in San Diego filling the other suitcase with fabric (and spandex - Phil's new favorite clothing!).
I will have three days in San Diego, meaning six meals.  That translates to lunches at Khan's Cave, Rubio's and JK's Greek Cafe, and din…

Guest Book - Elvira

Frist thank you for the invitation, Melbourne's best park; the Botanical Gardens, the Apostled tour, the penguins, were beautiful to visit and the most special part of this visit was to meet you, and meet George, a cat, that, like my own cats, eat cantaloupe (rock mellon).  The walkings by the end of the day with ducks and kangaroos in their natural habitat (one of them very big indeed - scary).
Thanks Suzannah for I didn't have to decide whether to go or not to Phillip Island - just do it - go.  it was AWESOME to see the penguin parade.

Thanks Phil for all the rides and to both for all the pick ups and for the opportunity of doing a tarot reading in English.

I'm grateful for the time together in this trip.  You have a home in Brazil to come.

Happy 2012

Sao Paulo, Brazil

Time Warp

Let's do the time-warp again.
Apparently most of Australia takes January off, and it took us a couple weeks to figure out why.  At first I figured everyone was just taking an extra week off from the Christmas holidays, but even this week people are off, and it seems that many don't return for another week or two still.  Then I remembered that it is the school holidays for kids, and that's when it hit me.  Duh, it's summer vacation.  Just like kids in the states have July and August off and everyone disappears, here they have January off.  Makes sense now.  Except it's raining outside right now- Melbourne seems to have a different idea of summer than I do.  San Diego, summer, and rain just don't mix like that.

On days when I forget about what month it is and remember that it's summer, I get really confused when I see updates about football playoffs.  Why are the playoffs in the summer, shouldn't they be in the winter?  And so my brain just keeps on spinni…

Guest Book - Missy

First of all,I just want to say thank you.  You have truly made a life long dream of mine come true.  I really appreciate all you have done to make me feel welcome and especially appreciate your superb "hosting" activities from tour guiding to road tripping to amazing holiday celebrating.  I am honored that I got to spend your first Chrissie and New Years in Oz with you.  What an experience! This trip has provided some pretty amazing scenery including beuatiful beaches, awesome wildlife, really blue lakes (huh?!), sinkholes full of possums (weird), beautiful and tasty vineyards and best of all the wonderful town of Colac, oh how it will be missed.
Thanks for the amazing adventures and let me know when you require another shipment of USA goods delivered as I am happy to accomodate.  You are truly lucky to have this opportunity in Oz!  I have had heaps of fun with only a glance at your new world.  Have an awesome 2012 filled with new adventures and much exploration!

Love, Missy …

Guest Book - Anita

After an extensive year of travel, I can honestly say that Australia and the Richardson household are 5-star rated.
You guys have been phenomenal hosts for my trip out here and have ensured that I got to see some amazing things.  Thank you for the opportunity to see penguins, koalas, and kangaroo fights!  The guided tour down the Great Ocean Road was amazing and filled with crazy little adventures.  The scenery was unforgettable as was the opportunity to see a sink hole, twice!

This trip was an excellent way to wrap up a crazy 2011.  The Aussie Christmas and New Year were a blast, and I feel fortunate to have spent it with great friends.

Cheers to an eventful 2012, and many more entries in the guest book!

-Anita Rai

Let it snow

Yesterday I looked at our upstairs Christmas Tree (yes, somehow we ended up with an upstairs tree and a downstairs tree) and thought, huh, that's lame, the stupid tree didn't even live long enough to make it through Christmas.  And then I realized that Christmas had already happened.  Oops.  I think I forgot it was Christmas because it just feels like summer vacation here. 
It certainly was a nice Christmas even though I seem to have forgotten about it.  Our friends Anita and Missy arrived to spend the holidays with us, and on Christmas Eve we took them down to Phillip Island to see the penguins.  We had a beautiful picnic on the beach for Christmas Eve dinner.  It was a bit strange sitting on the beach on a warm summer evening enjoying the sunset, and then realizing the following day was Christmas.

On Christmas Day we had lunch with our Aussie family.  It was very nice of them to invite us to join them and experience our first Aussie Christmas, especially since we brought our…